EPISTLE OF THE TEMPORARY HIGHER CHURCH ADMINISTRATION

OF THE RUSSIAN (ROSSIJSKOJ) ORTHODOX CHURCH

TO THE FLOCK BELOVED OF GOD

 

Beloved in Christ Jesus Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Children of the persecuted and tormented Russian Church!

 

     The Russian Orthodox Church is living through a harsh time, constricted now not by bloody persecutors, but by false brethren, who imitate Orthodoxy and call themselves the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the supposed successor of the Church of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon. Its main aim is “to deceive, if it were possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24.24), so that there should be forever lost in our poor Fatherland the feeling of truth and the right understanding of what the Church really is. The gaze of the majority of Russian (rossijskikh) people, deprived in the course of seventy years of the opportunity of confessing the true faith and acquiring the first principles of Orthodox teaching, is directed at externals, at the superficial content of this heretical and traitrous organization. Its influence has now embraced a significant part not only of the Russian (rossijskogo) people, which has lost the foundations of its statehood and nationality, but also a large part of the other peoples of the earth, their views of life and social structures, which gives us the right to speak of it as an institution of the Antichrist[1], who is striving by his speedy coming to take the place of Christ in the hearts and minds of the whole human race.

 

     We must admit that the work of Judas has had great success in recent years. Witness to this is the departure from the Holy Canons of almost all the Local “Orthodox” Churches of the world, and the presence of an extensive net of informants and agents, thanks to which no event in the life of these Churches that have fallen under the influence of the source of world evil is free from control by the God-fighting powers, if they are not directly inspired by them.

 

     Now the turn has come to the last citadel of undamaged Orthodoxy in the free world – the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, now headed by his Eminence Metropolitan VITALY (Ustinov). Unfortunately, Vladyka Metropolitan, having fallen with age under others’ influence, is no longer the leader of the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA, but only formally occupies this post. As usually happens, the enemy of the human race delivers his main blow at the weak place in human administration. Deceived and confused, Vladyka Metropolitan fears to change place, fears to go to Russia, and in his own residence fears that he may be poisoned, killed, etc.

 

     Meanwhile, a group of opponents of the commandment of Christ on love, transgressors of the Holy Canons and Resolutions of the Holy Fathers, having united with their pro-patriarchal supporters in the ROCA itself, are in fact leading the matter to a rapprochement with the Moscow Patriarchate, taking into their hands the reins of the Church administration. These so-called “zealots of undamaged Orthodoxy”, a part of whom are without doubt agents of the MP, have been joined by well-wishers in Russia. In their number is (the recently consecrated) Bishop Eutyches, who, at the 5th Conference of clergy in Suzdal, spoke about the Holy Canons as of something secondary by comparison with the opinion of the living hierarchs of the ROCA who were in agreement with him.

 

     We must admit that the successes of the dark powers that have been trying finally to destroy undamaged Orthodoxy, have been very great. But this is no reason for the faithful children of the Church of Christ to become despondent or to cease to struggle against these evil forces. The hierarch Ignaty Brianchaninov wrote: “The apostasy is allowed by God: do not try to stop it with your powerless hand. Keep away, guard yourself from it: and this will be enough from you. Get to know the spirit of the time, study it, so as to avoid its influence as far as possible.”

 

     Thus it turns out that the Russian [Rossijskaya] Church, having received the re-establishment of its episcopate several years ago from the hands of foreign hierarchs, and thereby acquired the opportunity to develop independently and freely from sergianism and the other sins of the Moscow Patriarchate, is now suffering the most real persecution from these same hierarchs. Moreover, if in the past faithfulness to the Holy Canons was raised in the Church Abroad to the level of primary importance and was the unfailing condition of the choice and realization of the enterprises of Church life, now, some three or four years later, almost every action of the ROCA Synod is a crude trampling on the Holy Canons and on the Statute of the ROCA itself, which declares in its first paragraph that “the ROCA is a part of the Russian [Rossijskoj] Church, temporarily governing itself until the removal from Russia of the atheist Soviet power”.

 

     As if without noticing this, the Synod of the ROCA now imposes its will on the Russian believers instead of giving an account, in an atmosphere of love, agreement and respect for the persecutions they have undergone in Russia, to the Orthodox people – the hierarchs, pastors and simple believers who do not recognize the schismatic Moscow Patriarchate. It would be good if the will of the Chancellery of the ROCA Synod were really the will of all the hierarchs of Russia Abroad, a will in agreement with the Canons of the Holy Apostles and Fathers of the Church! But nothing of the sort. The far from canonical decisions of three or four hierarchs take the place of the Sobor’s decisions and resolutions, and, published and distributed through Russia by agents of the MP, they sow division, distrust and enmity in our much-suffering Fatherland.

 

     To our great misfortune and shame, it has already become a habit for the ROCA Synod to deprive bishops of their sees, ban or defrock several Hierarchs at once, not only without trial or investigation, but even without any reason, simply on the basis of slander. They can “see better from beyond the ocean”!, as Vladyka Metropolitan Vitaly expressed it. All this, without any doubt, is one of the greatest achievements of the secret antichristian forces in recent times.

 

     More and more threats are piled on the Russian Hierarchs, Archbishops Lazarus and Valentine, and Bishops Theodore, Seraphim, Agathangelus, Alexander, Victor and Arsenius, by the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA, by false brothers of the Moscow Patriarchate and by bold enemies of Orthodox teaching. Making use of the ambiguity of the situation, the Moscow Patriarchate, with the help of the authorities, is striving to take away the churches of the Russian [Rossijskoj] Orthodox Church, the Church of God that is free from sergianism, and inspire believing people with the thought that the Hierarchical rank of the Russian Hierarchs is invalid.

 

     It is especially distressing to see that one part of the believers is submitting to this propaganda and is taking steps to embrace the heretical sergianists and transgressors of the Holy Canons. They are taking a step into the abyss of hell, from where “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8.12) are heard.

 

     The most recent Resolution of the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA forces us once more to remind people of the power of the bans placed by the canons for these transgressions, of which that part of the hierarchs of the ROCA which has ascribed itself the right to speak and act in the name of the whole Church Abroad, is now guilty.

 

1.     If a Bishop receives church servers banned by another bishop as members of his clergy, let him be expelled as a teacher of lawlessness (16th Apostolic Canon).

 

2.     Let a Bishop who dares to carry out an ordination beyond the bounds of his Diocese without the agreement of the Diocese in which the ordination takes place, be defrocked, together with those ordained by him (35th Apostolic Canon).

 

3.     If a Bishop teaches publicly in a city that does not belong to him, let him be removed from the episcopate and do the works of the priesthood (20th Canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council).

 

4.     Let no Bishop dare to move from one Diocese to another. If he decides to carry out Church affairs that do not belong to him, then let everything he has done be invalid and let him be punished for his lawlessness and foolhardy undertakings by speedy defrockment from his rank by the holy council (13th Canon of Antioch; 59th Canon of Carthage).

 

     The Canons demand that every Diocese should preserve in purity and without oppression the rights that belonged to it from the beginning, and if anyone suggests anything contrary to this, let it be invalid (8th Canon of the 3rd Ecumenical Council; 9th Canon of Antioch; 64th and 67th Canons of Carthage). It is precisely these Canons that FORBID the ROCA Synod FROM MAKING ANY ATTEMPT TO RULE the Russian Orthodox Church and call itself the HIGHER CHURCH AUTHORITY!

 

     We call on all the faithful children of the Church of God to firmly remember the covenants of the holy Fathers of the Church and not to give in to any attempts to persuade them, from whatever quarter these may come, to carry out the affairs of Church life in violation of the Holy Canons. Any resolutions of the Hierarchical Synod or of the Moscow Patriarchate which are aimed at interfering in the affairs of the Russian [Rossijskoj] Orthodox Church in the Homeland, are not to be recognized or carried out.

 

     Dear in the Lord Children of the Orthodox Church of God, who remain faithful to the Holy Canons and covenants of the Hierarch Tikhon, Patriarch and Confessor of Moscow and All Russia and of the Holy New Martyrs of Russia! We call on you to cleanse yourselves from sergianism and the other sins of the Moscow Patriarchate that have penetrated the Russian Church Abroad. We have no right to interfere in the affairs of the Dioceses Abroad, but it is painful for us to see how this part of the Russian Church, which preserved, throughout all the decades of atheism in the Homeland, in persecution and dispersion, the light of the Orthodox Faith, is now being subjected to humiliation and mockery according to the will of those who are guilty of the present division, and whose leader is the devil. May the Lord preserve us all.

 

With much love,

ADMINISTERING THE AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

PRESIDENT OF THE TEMPORARY HIGHER CHURCH AUTHORITY

+Valentine, Archbishop of Suzdal and Vladimir

CONSTANT MEMBERS OF THE TEMPORARY HIGHER CHURCH AUTHORITY

Theodore, Bishop of Borisovsk

Seraphim, Bishop of Sukhumi and Abkahzia.

October, 1995.

Suzdal. [2]


 



[1] This phrase “institution of the Antichrist” was applied by Patriarch Tikhon to the heretical “Living Church” of the renovationists, which his Holiness anathematized and denounced as graceless on July 2/15, 1923. See Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Paris: YMCA Press, 1977, p. 313. The clear implication here is that the present-day Moscow Patriarchate is the same kind of organization as the “Living Church” – or rather, its direct successor.

[2] Suzdal’skij Palomnik, 27, 1996, pp. 1-4.



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